Part of this job, a part of it that brings me no joy whatsoever, is that I have to do constant media monitoring. Every day I go through every written word I can find about what’s going on at Celtic or in relation to the ongoing travails at the SFA and Ibrox. The first task speaks for itself. The second and third should; Sevco continues to cheat and the SFA continues to let them.
I knew when I started writing about Celtic that covering the media was going to part of it. Quite often, the way the media covers our club is horrendous beyond belief. I knew that part of this was going to be playing counterpoint to that, and so I set up newsfeeds and news alerts and configured my aggregators accordingly. I read all of the papers, every day.
And yes, it’s like wading through the muck at times. But also means that I can respond to the worst elements and the worst stories. When they distort facts or get facts wrong – more often than you’d believe and more than they will ever admit – it is often easy to prove that.
In short, I do this because I have to. You know why I have to?
Because too many Celtic fans still read these rags, and too many believe what’s in them. Too many people in Scotland still get their information from the red-tops the rest of us know are a discredited joke, often miles behind the real stories, sometimes even helping to bury real news.
This week has offered an interesting example of what is wrong here, an example that offers us an interesting insight into the media audience here in Scotland and what it wants.
Over the weekend, as we’re all aware, young Liam Miller tragically died.
The Record published an appalling headline in relation to that, which they took down under a social media barrage of criticism which came out of deep revulsion. Everyone knows what The Record did. Nearly every Celtic blog did a piece on it, and for a day the Newsnow feed was filled with condemnation. For those who needed reminding, The Record had proved itself a gutter journal deserving only of contempt.
But one day goes by and all seems to be forgiven; the main stories for the past 24 hours on Newsnow Celtic offer up a wholly depressing picture; three out of the top five stories from the last day are Daily Record articles. Three out of five. One of the others is the BBC’s story on Lawwell and the other is from an obscure regional title called Get West London, on QPR’s strip.
You just never know what Celtic fans are going to find interesting from one day to the next; it’s one of the reasons I love doing what I do.
But that stat bothers me. It bothers me because it means an alarming number of our fans were clicking on The Record’s pieces just hours after the paper issued an apology for its crass and disgusting behaviour. Even after Thugs and Thieves and all manner of other nonsense, some of our supporters still value that rag as a source of news.
And what makes this worse is the “quality” of the stories; one about how the Russian media refers to Scott Brown, a story of absolutely no consequence at all; one about how an ex Hibs manager says an ex Sevco boss is disrespectful (and quite why anyone would care I do not know) and lastly one about how Tom Rogic has been denied a chance to play before the Zenit game because a Celtic Development Squad game was called off … that story could have been found on any one of a dozen Celtic fan sites, who were all running with it.
Instead of giving hits to them, the hits went to a paper whose editorial team would kill us just to watch us die. And I am baffled by this. Completely baffled.
My Newsnow feed might well look different to yours, and that’s really the point of this piece. If you use Newsnow regularly, you should consider registering with the site. If you do that, you are allowed to filter out your news feed. At the risk of some of you doing it so you never again have to see a headline from this site, I strongly advise that you do. I have removed a slew of click-bait sites, like HTC and others, in order to eliminate some of the extraneous white noise that’s out there. You should consider doing the same with The Daily Record.
The Sun, you don’t need to worry about. They don’t appear on the Newsnow aggregator, perhaps because they have a firewall on their stories. It makes that paper easier to ignore, although there are ways around the wall if you know how. I think The Sun is such a hated rag anyway that few people in Scotland care what it writes; it’s one of the reasons I barely mention it.
The Record is another matter and, frankly, and especially in light of the last few days, it should be blocked wherever that’s possible.
The Record should not be shared. It should not be retweeted. Since it is forced to write positively about us when we are successful those stories should be ignored. When it writes bile, don’t worry; that’ll be highlighted by those of us whose job it is to wade through their swamp. But I tell you, on the day The Daily Record falls so far out of my Newsnow feed that I no longer feel it necessary to combat their lies I’ll stop giving them my hits as well.
Glasgow Live is another matter entirely; a Daily Record off-shoot, it too should be ignored. But it doesn’t pretend to be a news site; it is clickbait fluff and never tries to be anything else; it’s an utter irrelevance as far as the big picture goes, and although it’s shameless promotion of the OF lie is aggravating it carries no weight whatsoever.
But The Record considers itself an opinion maker, and is afforded that status in many quarters including in government and in football’s governing bodies. No mater that few trust it, even fewer respect it, our so-called “betters” are scared shitless of this rag for reasons passing understanding. But we have nothing whatsoever to fear from it.
Its influence has been reduced but not yet eliminated. Celtic fans pay it more heed than they need to. It’s time we shut down the oxygen supply for this rag completely. I look forward to seeing its Newsnow status drop like a rock. It’s long overdue.
You can also follow us on Twitter at @The_Celtic_Blog